Type of dive: Reef
Access: Boat (5 minutes)
Minimum qualification: Advanced (Deep recommended)
Depth: 6-38 metres (20-125’)
Visibility: 15-35 metres (50-115’)
Water temperature: 12°C (54°F) – 17°C (63°F)
Best time to visit: November – July
Snorkelling: Magic Gardens is too deep but are plenty of great Bicheno snorkel sites.
Bicheno, a small fishing village on the east coast of Tasmania, north of the Freycinet Peninsula, is the home of some of the best temperate water in the world.
Most of Bicheno’s great dive sites are in the marine reserve around Governor Island, just 50 metres (165’) offshore across Waubs Gulch, a short, five minute boat ride from the Bicheno boat ramp!
The Governor Island Marine Reserve is a fully protected no-take area that includes all waters and islands within 400 metres (1,312’) to the east of the island.
Being on the east coast of Tasmania, Bicheno is protected from prevailing southwesterlies common in southern Australia, and Govenor Island provides protection from most other winds, making Bicheno an almost perfect, all-year-round diving location.
The underwater terrain off Bicheno is made up of spectacular granite walls, boulders and tunnels. It is the perfect substrate for supporting an incredible array of temperate marine invertebrates, and the back drop to a massive diversity of fish life, including huge schools of butterfly perch.
In the shallower waters, kelp provides perfect shelter for weedy seadragons and rare Tasmaninan handfish, and the deeper you go, the better the marine life gets.
In deeper water large schools of butterfly perch hover over rock bommies covered in delicate sea whips, jewel anemones, bright yellow zoanthids, a variety of colourful sponges and many sea stars.
The pick of all the spectacular Bicheno dive sites is Magic Garden.
Magic Garden lays at the base of a series of vertical walls commencing in shallow water and extending to a depth of 38 metres (125‘). The walls also contain incredible tunnels lined in an amazing array of colourful, delicate marine life.
Dolphins, seals and whales are regular visitors to Bichenos protected waters.
Words cannot adequately describe the underwater beauty of Bicheno, it can only be truely appreciated by donning the dive gear.
Copyright C 2015 Steve Sinclair
Other great dives to do while you are there:
Golden Bommies, Hedge Hog, Paradise Reef, Mr Whippy, Castle and Hairy Wall.